Have you wanted to build an iPhone app but didn’t know where to start? Me too! I’d like to build applications that allow me to control electronics on an XBee network remotely via a host computer, or hack an interface to the powermeter on my bicycle. So it was very exciting to be at this month’s Geek Dinner in Providence RI, which doubled as the launch party for Jonathan Stark’s new book, Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, edited by O’Reilly Senior Editor and Providence Geeks co-founder Brian Jepson. Jonathan discussed the pros and cons of developing “native apps” versus “web apps” for the rapidly changing mobile phone platforms. He also discussed several nice open source tools for facilitating iPhone application development. This book is perhaps the most informative, accessible, and concise guide to iPhone coding I have come across. Very cool!!

One great benefit of Jonathan’s book is his extensive use of the open source application development framework PhoneGap. It gives many of the benefits of native iPhone applications yet provides the ease of developing a web application. This is a great tool for those who want to create iPhone applications, but don’t want to jump through the hurdles required to become a registered developer and wait for application approval. I am also rather impressed by the free HTML version available online.